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EFSA Journal 2009; 7(9):1213

SCIENTIFIC OPINION

Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to folate and blood formation (ID 79), homocysteine metabolism (ID 80), energyyielding metabolism (ID 90), function of the immune system (ID 91), function of blood vessels (ID 94, 175, 192), cell division (ID 193), and maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061
EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA)2
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

SUMMARY
Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies was asked to provide a scientific opinion on a list of health claims pursuant to Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No1924/2006. This opinion addresses the scientific substantiation of health claims in relation to folate and the following claimed effects: blood formation, homocysteine metabolism, energy-yielding metabolism, function of the immune system, function of blood vessels, cell division, and maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. The scientific substantiation is based on the information provided by the Member States in the consolidated list of Article 13 health claims and references that EFSA has received from Member States or directly from stakeholders. The food constituent that is the subject of the health claims is folate, which is a well recognised nutrient and is measurable in foods by established methods. The Panel considers that the food constituent, folate, which is the subject of the health claims, is sufficiently characterised. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal blood formation, normal homocysteine metabolism, normal function of the immune system, normal cell division, and normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. The Panel considers that, in order to bear the claims, a food should be at least a source of folate as per Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. Such amounts can be easily consumed as part of a balanced

1 On request from the European Commission, Question No EFSA-Q-2008-866, EFSA-Q-2008-867, EFSA-Q-2008-877, EFSA-Q-2008-878, EFSA-Q-2008-881, EFSA-Q-2008-962, EFSA-Q-2008-979, EFSA-Q-2008-980, EFSA-Q-2008-3615 adopted on 02 July 2009. 2 Panel members: Jean-Louis Bresson, Albert Flynn, Marina Heinonen, Karin Hulshof, Hannu Korhonen, Pagona Lagiou, Martinus Løvik, Rosangela Marchelli, Ambroise Martin, Bevan Moseley, Hildegard Przyrembel, Seppo Salminen, Sean (J.J.) Strain, Stephan Strobel, Inge Tetens, Henk van den Berg, Hendrik van Loveren and Hans Verhagen. Correspondence: nda@efsa.europa.eu For citation purposes: EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to folate and blood formation (ID 79), homocysteine metabolism (ID 80), energyyielding metabolism (ID 90), function of the immune system (ID 91), function of blood vessels (ID 94, 175, 192), cell division (ID 193), and maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on request from the European Commission. EFSA Journal 2009; 7(9):1213. [22 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1213. Available online: www.efsa.europa.eu

© European Food Safety Authority, 2009

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Folate related health claims

diet. The target population is the general population for the following claimed effects: blood formation, homocysteine metabolism and function of the immune system. The target population is women planning to become pregnant and pregnant women for the following claimed effect: maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal energy-yielding metabolism and function of blood vessels. KEY WORDS
Folate, folic acid, blood formation, homocysteine, energy-yielding metabolism, immune system, blood vessels, cell division, pregnancy, health claims.

EFSA Journal 2009; 7(9):1213

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............................................................................................................................................................................................. Scientific substantiation of the claimed effect . 5 2.......................................... 5 2...................... 7(9):1213 3 ...... 12 Appendices ............................................................................................. Blood formation (ID 79) ........ 6 2........................................ 5 2............... 4 EFSA Disclaimer............................................... Characterisation of the food/constituent .........4.... Energy-yielding metabolism (ID 90) ............... 11 References .............................................................................................. 22 EFSA Journal 2009......... Homocysteine metabolism (ID 80) ..................5...2.. 9 4.............. 6 2.................................... 8 3............................................................... 7 3......6.................................. 7 3................................................................................. 10 5....7... Cell division (ID 193) ..........2.................................. Cell division (ID 193) ................................. 10 Conclusions ................ Relevance of the claimed effect to human health .......................1......................................................... 9 4.................. Maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882) ............................................................ 9 3........................................................................ 5 2........................................................... Homocysteine metabolism (ID 80) ....................................................................................................................................... 3 Background as provided by the European Commission ...................................... 6 3............. 4 Information as provided in the consolidated list ........................................... 9 4........... Blood formation (ID 79) ............................................................... 6 2.....................................................................................................................................3.........................Folate related health claims TABLE OF CONTENTS Summary .............6..................................................... Conditions and possible restrictions of use ................................................................................................4............................................................................................................... 192).............................................................3...................4.......5................................................................ Function of the immune system (ID 91) ............................ Function of the immune system (ID 91) ............. 9 4....................... Cell division (ID 193) ................................................3................. 7 3.7..... Blood formation (ID 79) ..........................1................... Energy-yielding metabolism (ID 90) ............................................1........................................................ 7 3................................................................ Function of blood vessels (ID 94.... 10 Documentation provided to EFSA ......... 175......................... Function of the immune system (ID 91) .......... 192)............................ 6 2............................................................ 4 Acknowledgements ............ Function of blood vessels (ID 94........................................................ 9 4..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................2.... 5 Assessment ........................................................ Maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882) ...................... Maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882) ................................................................. 5 1............................................................................................................................. 175...........................................................................................................5.......................................................................................................................... Panel’s comments on the proposed wording ........................................ 13 Glossary / Abbreviations ......... Homocysteine metabolism (ID 80) ........................... 9 4............. 1 Table of contents .............................. 6 3............................................. 4 Terms of reference as provided by the European Commission ........

Inge Tetens. Martinus Løvik. EFSA Journal 2009. Ambroise Martin. 7(9):1213 4 . Sean (J. Marina Heinonen. Hildegard Przyrembel.) Strain.J. Henk van den Berg. Hannu Korhonen. Albert Flynn.Folate related health claims BACKGROUND AS PROVIDED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION See Appendix A TERMS OF REFERENCE AS PROVIDED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION See Appendix A EFSA DISCLAIMER See Appendix B ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The European Food Safety Authority wishes to thank the members of the Working Group on claims for the preparation of this opinion: Jean-Louis Bresson. Seppo Salminen. Hendrik van Loveren and Hans Verhagen.

7. OJ L 183. 30. 3 Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods. Characterisation of the food/constituent The food constituent that is the subject of the health claims is folate. i. p. 2. derivatives of tetrahydrofolate (THF) (SCF.e. 2. 26 –38. The Panel assumes that the target populat ion is the general population. folate. OJ L 404.2. Natural (dietary) folates are mostly reduced folates. 7(9):1213 5 . p.12. and becomes biologically active after reduction. The information provided in the consolidated list for the health claims subject to this opinion is tabulated in Appendix C.2006.1. PGA). The Panel considers that normal homocysteine metabolism is beneficial to human health. 5 Directive 2002/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 10 June 2002 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to food supplements. Different forms of folate are authorised for addition to foods (Annex II of the Regulation (EC) No 1925/20064 and Annex II of Directive 2002/46/EC5). which is the subject of the health claims.2006. Homocysteine metabolism (ID 80) The claimed effect is “homocysteine metabolism”. is sufficiently characterised. The Panel assumes that the target population is the general population. 2. p. Relevance of the claimed effect to human health Blood formation (ID 79) The claimed effect is “blood formation”. 12. 51 –57.12. ASSESSMENT 1.2002. OJ L 404. Folic acid (PGA) is a synthetic folate compound used in food supplements and in food fortification because of its stability. The Panel considers that the food constituent. 4 Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on the addition of vitamins and minerals and of certain other substances to foods. EFSA Journal 2009.Folate related health claims INFORMATION AS PROVIDED IN THE CONSOLIDATED LIST The consolidated list of health claims pursuant to Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20063 submitted by Member States contains main entry claims with corresponding conditions of use and literature from similar health claims. 2000). This evaluation applies to folate naturally present in foods and those forms authorised for addition to foods (Annex II of the Regulation (EC) No 1925/2006 and Annex II of Directive 2002/46/EC). The Panel considers that normal blood formation is beneficial to human health. Folate is the generic name for a number of compounds having a similar activity as folic acid (pteroylglutamic acid. 30. 9 –25. Folate is measurable in foods by established methods.

The Panel interprets the claimed effect “effect on a normal pregnancy” as normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.7.e. 2000). The Panel considers that normal cell division is beneficial to human health. purine synthesis. maintaining the methylation balance (SCF. The Panel considers that normal energy-yielding metabolism is beneficial to human health. 2. 1998). The Panel assumes that the target population is the general population. 2.Folate related health claims 2. The Panel assumes that the target population is the general population. Cell division (ID 193) The claimed effect is “cell division”. From the proposed wordings the Panel assumes the claimed effect relates to normal function of the blood vessels.4. 7(9):1213 6 . The Panel assumes that the target population is the general population.5. The Panel assumes that the target population is the general population. Scientific substantiation of the claimed effect Folates play an important role in the transfer of C1-groups (i.and formylgroups). EFSA Journal 2009. 3. The Panel considers that a normal function of the immune system is beneficial to human health. 175. Function of blood vessels (ID 94. 2. methyl-.6. Folate coenzymes are involved in numerous reactions that involve DNA synthesis. The Panel considers that normal function of blood vessels is beneficial to human health. Energy-yielding metabolism (ID 90) The claimed effect is “the role of water-soluble vitamins in energy metabolism / transformation of food into physiological energy”. generation of formate into the formate pool and amino acid interconversion (IoM. The Panel notes that cell division is a crucial process for tissue growth and development and for tissue maintenance through cell turnover. The target population is women planning to become pregnant and pregnant women. The Panel considers that normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy is beneficial to human health. “cardiovascular health” and “folate helps keep arteries/ blood vessels healthy”. Maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882) The claimed effect is “effect on a normal pregnancy”. methylene.3. The claimed effect “cardiovascular health” is not sufficiently defined in the list. 2. 192) The claimed effects are “vascular function/cardiovascular health”. Function of the immune system (ID 91) The claimed effect is “the role of vitamins and minerals in immunity”.

The excess deoxyuridine monophosphate is then phosphorylated to deoxyuridine triphosphate and is incorporated into DNA. Depending on the magnitude of the metabolic impairment. 3. 2006). 2006). and thus may affect immune cell proliferation and responsiveness. Hyperhomocysteinemia is also caused by B vitamin deficiencies. it leads to DNA fragmentation and to perturbation of the cell cycle giving rise to megaloblastosis. plasma homocysteine can rise to varying degrees. a net decrease in 5. which converts deoxyuridine monophosphate to deoxythymidine monophosphate. All proliferating cells exhibit megaloblastosis.1. and then to homocysteine to form methionine (Bailey and Gregory. or severe elevations in plasma homocysteine. Homocysteine metabolism (ID 80) 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate is an important functional and regulatory component of the folatedependent pathway for the production of methionine from homocysteine which is catalysed by methionine synthase. Blood formation (ID 79) In folate deficiency. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal energy-yielding metabolism. depending on the severity of the deficiency. Folate deficiency has been shown to reduce proliferation of various cell types. 7(9):1213 7 .3. Function of the immune system (ID 91) Folate plays a crucial role in nucleotide synthesis. 3. When folate is added back EFSA Journal 2009. The main clinical expression of folate deficiency is megaloblastic anemia characterised by large. There are also decreased numbers of white cells and platelets as a result of the general impairment of cell division (Bailey and Gregory. 3. Under conditions of maximal metabolic efficiency. Cells lacking folate accumulate in the S-phase owing to nucleotide imbalance and slow DNA synthesis. as well as coexistence of genetic or other factors that interfere with homocysteine metabolism (Miller. however the changes are most striking in the blood and bone marrow (Chitambar and Anthony. In this reaction.4.10-methlyene-tetrahydrofolate interrupts the reaction mediated by thymidylate synthase. When this process is repeated several times. plasma concentrations of homocysteine range from 4 to 10 µmol/L. Energy-yielding metabolism (ID 90) Folate coenzymes are involved in the interconversion of serine to glycine and in the catabolism of histidine to glutamic acid (McPartlin. such cells also have increased uracil misincorporation and DNA damage. moderate. This faulty incorporation is immediately recognised by an editorial enzyme and is excised. Metabolic blocks in homocysteine metabolism lead to accumulation of intracellular homocysteine with subsequent export into the blood. 2005).Folate related health claims 3. Deficiencies of folate. abnormally nucleated erythrocytes that accumulate in the bone marrow. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal homocysteine metabolism. The Panel notes that these reactions do not lead to intermediates that can be considered as significant source of energy for the body. a methyl group is sequentially transferred from 5-methyltetrahydrofolate to the cobalamin coenzyme of the methionine synthase.2. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal blood formation. 2005). vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 lead to impaired remethylation of homocysteine causing mild. 2006).

or addition of vitamin B6 or vitamin B12 had no effect on the estimated change in FMD following folic acid supplementation. In a randomised double blind placebo controlled parallel design intervention. 86% males).5. and increased FMD compared with placebo. and suggest that folate status may affect the immune system by inhibiting the capacity of CD8+ T lymphocyte cells to proliferate in response to mitogen activation (Courtemanche et al. The primary outcome was the net change in flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) induced by the supplementation with folic acid (either alone or in combination with vitamin B6. Images of the aorta and carotid arteries were used to determine vascular distensibility and pulse-wave velocity as indices of vascular stiffness.. One meta-analysis. The meta-analysis included 14 randomised controlled trials. Folate deficiency has been shown to reduce the proportion of circulating T lymphocytes and their proliferation in response to mitogen activation. folate deficiency induced in PHAactivated human T lymphocytes induced apoptosis and increased the ratio of CD4+ to CD8+ T cells because of a marked reduction in CD8+ cell proliferation. there is a reversal of the S-phase accumulation. FMD was used as a measure of endothelial function. Vascular function was quantified by high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and at the end of the treatment period. The Panel considers that no scientific conclusions can be drawn from these studies for the substantiation of the claimed effect at the proposed conditions of use. In addition. Function of blood vessels (ID 94. 7(9):1213 8 . insulin sensitivity. Supplementation with both low and high doses of folic acid significantly improved aortic and carotid distensibility. The Panel notes that this study was performed in patients with coronary artery disease before coronary artery bypass grafting and no evidence has been provided that the finding in this small study of cardiovascular disease patients can be extrapolated to the general population.8 years. this meta-analysis was based on 732 persons treated with folic acid (either alone or in combination with vitamin B6. The Panel notes that the doses used in these studies were 5 to 20 fold the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of folic acid for adults and 12. or both) or placebo for a median duration of 8 weeks and with a median study size of 34 participants. vitamin B12. Six references were textbook or opinions of scientific bodies and 47 references were not directly related to the claimed effect but to blood homocysteine concentrations. study duration. The Panel notes that the references cited did not provide any scientific data that could be used to substantiate the claimed effect. 175.Folate related health claims to folate-deficient cells. 56 subjects with coronary artery disease not exposed to folate fortification were randomised to receive either a low dose (400 µg/d) (n= 20) or high dose (5 mg/d) of folic acid (n=22) or placebo (n=14) for 7 weeks before coronary artery bypass grafting. three review papers and 16 human studies investigating the relationship between folic acid intake and endothelial function were cited. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and a normal function of the immune system. One trial had two intervention groups and thus 15 intervention groups were analysed. 4 intervention EFSA Journal 2009. The median folic acid dose was 5000 µg/d (range: 400–10. Most study participants were middle-aged males (median age 55. 192) A total of 73 references were cited to substantiate the claimed effect.800 µg/d. 3.. Trials using lower doses of folic acid (400 . In total. 15 of the human studies were conducted with high doses of folic acid (5 mg/d. reduced aortic pulsewave velocity. Study design. and proliferation is restored.5 to 50 times the proposed conditions of use. mean age of the study population. 10 mg/d or 20 mg/d). whereas no significant differences were observed between the folic acid groups for any outcome variable (Shirodaria et al. whereas the dose of folic acid used was an independent predictor of the outcome. vitamin B12. 2004). markers of oxidative stress or to the relationship between hyperhomocysteinemia and the risk of cardiovascular disease. 2007). All these effects were reversible in vitro by either folate addition or nucleotide repletion.000 µg/d). or both). Supplementation with folic acid significantly improved FMD when all studies were considered together.

Homocysteine metabolism (ID 80) The Panel considers that the following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Folate contr ibutes to normal homocysteine metabolism. Function of the immune system (ID 91) The Panel considers that the following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Folate contributes to a normal function of the immune system.” 4. This DNA synthesis is dependent on the presence of 5. 2006). Cell division (ID 193) The Panel considers that the following wording reflects t he scientific evidence: “Folate contributes to normal cell division. a co-factor of the thymidylate synthase. 3. The Panel considers that no scientific conclusions can be drawn from these studies for the substantiation the claimed effect at the proposed conditions of use. 4. Maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882) During pregnancy folate is needed for increasing the mother’s red blood cell mass. The Panels concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. 4. The Panel notes that an effect of folic acid on endothelial function was only observed at doses that are 5 to 10 fold the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of folic acid for adults and 12. 2006) owing to its role in cell division (see section 2. 7(9):1213 9 . the uterus.6. Cell division (ID 193) During the S-phase of the cell division cycle the DNA of the cell is replicated.5 to 25 times the proposed conditions of use.” 4. An additional function of folate in the nucleotide production involves the de novo synthesis of adenine and guanine (Bailey and Gregory. 2006). The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has been established between the intake of folate and normal cell division.” EFSA Journal 2009.3. The Panel concludes that a cause and effect relationship has not been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal function of blood vessels.Folate related health claims groups) did not show a significant beneficial effect of folic acid intake on FMD.7. for the formation of the placenta and for the growth of the foetus. which converts deoxyuridine monophosphate to deoxythymidine monophosphate (Chitambar and Anthony..10-methlyene-tetrahydrofolate.4.” 4.6). 3. whereas the studies using doses ≥5000 µg/d (11 intervention groups) did (de Bree et al.1.3.2. Panel’s comments on the proposed wording Blood formation (ID 79) The Panel considers that the following wording reflects t he scientific evidence: “Folate contributes to normal blood formation. 2007). breasts and other maternal tissues (Chitambar and Anthony.

the Panel concludes that: The food constituent. 2000). The target population is women planning to become pregnant and pregnant women for the following claimed effect: maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882). Conditions and possible restrictions of use The Panel considers that in order to bear the claims a food should be at least a source of folate as per Annex to Regulation (EC) 1924/2006. is sufficiently characterised. 7(9):1213 10 .5. Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) have been established for folic acid for children and adults. function of the immune system (ID 91). Normal blood formation is beneficial to human health. which is the subject of the health claims. EFSA Journal 2009. A cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal homocysteine metabolism. A cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal blood formation.” Homocysteine metabolism (ID 80) The claimed effect is “homocysteine metabolism”.” 5. The tar get population is assumed to be the general population. Such amounts can be easily consumed as part of a balanced diet.Folate related health claims 4. The following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Folate contributes to normal blood formation. folate. A cause and effect relationship has not been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal energy-yielding metabolism. The following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Folate contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism. Function of the immune system (ID 91) The claimed effect is “the role of vitamins and minerals in immunity”. The target population is assumed to be the general population. Maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882) The Panel considers that the following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Folate contributes to normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.” Energy-yielding metabolism (ID 90) The claimed effect is “the role of water-soluble vitamins in energy metabolism / transformation of food into physiological energy”. Normal homocysteine metabolism is beneficial to human health. and cell division (ID 193). CONCLUSIONS On the basis of the data presented. The target population is the general population for the following claimed effects: blood formation (ID 79). Normal energy-yielding metabolism is beneficial to human health. The target population is assumed to be the general population. Blood formation (ID 79) The claimed effect is “blood formation”. Target population is assumed to be the general population. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level for adults has been set at 1000 µg/d (SCF. homocysteine metabolism (ID 80).

The target population is assumed to be the general population. EFSA-Q-2008-881.europa. The following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Folate contributes to normal cell division. EFSA-Q-2008-878.Folate related health claims A normal function of the immune system is beneficial to human health.” Function of the blood vessels (ID 94. A cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.” Maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882) The claimed effect is “effect on a normal pregnancy”. EFSA-Q-2008-980. The target population is women planning to become pregnant and pregnant women. 175. The following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Folate contributes to a normal function of the immune system. Cell division (ID 193) The claimed effect is “cell division”. EFSA-Q-2008-979. A cause and effect relationship has not been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal function of the blood vessels. The scientific substantiation is based on the information provided by the Members States in the consolidated list of Article 13 health claims and references that EFSA has received from Member States or directly from stakeholders. DOCUMENTATION PROVIDED TO EFSA Health claims pursuant to Article 13 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 (No: EFSA-Q-2008-866. Normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy is beneficial to human health. A cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and a normal function of the immune system. 7(9):1213 to EFSA is available on: 11 . The following wording reflects the scientific evidence: “Folate contributes to normal maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.eu/panels/nda/claims/article13.efsa.htm. EFSA-Q-2008-962. EFSA-Q-2008-867. Such amounts can be easily consumed as part of a balanced diet.” Conditions and possible restrictions of use In order to bear the claims a food should be at least a source of folate/folic acid as per Annex to Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. The target population is women planning to become pregnant and pregnant women for the following claimed effect: maternal tissue growth during pregnancy (ID 2882). Normal cell division is beneficial to human health. EFSA-Q-2008-3615). “cardiovascular health” and “folate helps keep arteries/ blood vessels healthy”. A cause and effect relationship has been established between the dietary intake of folate and normal cell division. EFSA Journal 2009. 192) The claimed effects are “vascular function/cardiovascular health”. homocysteine metabolism (ID 80) and function of the immune system (ID 91). The target population is the general population for the following claimed effects: blood formation (ID 79). The full list of supporting references as provided http://www. EFSA-Q-2008-877. Normal function of the blood vessels is beneficial to human health. The target population is assumed to be the general population.

EFSA Journal 2009. Folic acid. Draijer R. Pillai R. 257-264. Philadephia. 2262-2270. Cousins R (eds. Nutr. Antoniades C. Courtemanche C. IoM (Institute of Medicine). Mashiyama ST. Folic acid improves vascular reactivity in humans: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Robson MD.). Oxford. Clin. riboflavin. Allen L. Circulation 115(17). de Bree A. 2007. International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). 1998. 2005. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.). Ross C. Shike M. Ratnatunga C. Francis JM. Homocysteine. Am. Baltimore. 86(3). In: Present knowledge in nutrition. vitamin B12.Folate related health claims REFERENCES Bailey LB and Gregory JF. DC. Jackson CE. Caballero B. pantothenic acid. Dietary Reference Intakes for thiamin. 610-617. National Academies Press.1436-1461. J Immunol 173(5). Allen L. 7(9):1213 12 . Moat SJ. 2006. Elsevier. In: Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease. Global Improvement of Vascular Function and Redox State With Low-Dose Folic Acid: Implications for Folate Therapy in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease. Chitambar CR and Antony AC. folate. Oxford. 2004. Neubauer S. 2000. 2006. vitamin B6. 462-469. Washington DC. Ames BN. van Mierlo LA. niacin. Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of Folate. Folate deficiency inhibits the proliferation of primary human CD8+ T lymphocytes in vitro. Caballero B. Miller JW. Elsevier. Nutritional aspects of some hematological disease. 2007. Bowman BA and Russell RM (eds. In: Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition. Prentice A (eds. Folate. Caballero B.). Shirodaria C. Elson-Schwab I. Channon KM. Lee J. Prentice A (eds. 3186-3192. Washington. Refsum H.). SCF (Scientific Committee on Food). Shils M. J. biotin and choline. McPartlin J. 2005. In: Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition. Kerry N.

g. development and the functions of the body. suggests or implies that a relationship exists between a food category. To be included in the Community list of permitted health claims. These lists have been consolidated into the list which forms the basis for the EFSA consultation in accordance with Article 13 (3). Article 13 of the Regulation foresees that the Commission shall adopt a Community list of permitted health claims other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children's development and health. 8 The term 'function' when used in this Terms of Reference refers to health claims in Article 13(1)(a). 18/01/2007 The term 'food' when used in this Terms of Reference refers to a food constituent. This Community list shall be adopted through the Regulatory Committee procedure and following consultation of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). the food or the food category. In accordance with Article 13 (1) health claims other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children's development and health are health claims describing or referring to: a) the role of a nutrient or other substance in growth. and (ii) well understood by the average consumer. or b) psychological and behavioural functions. EFSA Journal 2009. the relative importance of food e.Folate related health claims APPENDICES APPENDIX A BACKGROUND AND TERMS OF REFERENCE AS PROVIDED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION The Regulation 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods 6 (hereinafter "the Regulation") entered into force on 19th January 2007. 6 7 OJ L12. a food or one of its constituents and health". Member States provided the Commission with lists of claims as referred to in Article 13 (1) by 31 January 2008 accompanied by the conditions applying to them and by references to the relevant scientific justification. Health claims are defined as "any claim that states. or c) without prejudice to Directive 96/8/EC. nutrients in relation to other nutrients for the expressed beneficial effect should be considered: for functions affected by a large number of dietary factors it should be considered whether a reference to a single food is scientifically pertinent. slimming or weight-control or a reduction in the sense of hunger or an increase in the sense of satiety or to the reduction of the available energy from the diet. 7(9):1213 13 . ISSUES THAT NEED TO BE CONSIDERED IMPORTANCE AND PERTINENCE OF THE FOOD7 Foods are commonly involved in many different functions8 of the body. the claims shall be: (i) based on generally accepted scientific evidence. and for one single food many health claims may therefore be scientifically true. Therefore. (b) and (c).

Nevertheless it will be relevant and important that EFSA comments on the availability and quality of such data in order to allow the regulator to judge and make a risk management decision about the acceptability of health claims included in the submitted list. clear.Folate related health claims It should also be considered if the information on the characteristics of the food contains aspects pertinent to the beneficial effect. In addition to fulfilling the general principles and conditions of the Regulation laid down in Article 3 and 5. the quantity of the food and pattern of consumption required to obtain the claimed effect could reasonably be achieved as part of a balanced diet. and biological plausibility of the relationship). consumer perception and linguistic or cultural differences across the EU. Therefore. the requirement to EFSA Journal 2009. However. The beneficial effect of the dietary intake has also to be demonstrated. reliable and useful to the consumer in choosing a healthy diet. the wording of health claims should also be commented by EFSA in its opinion. a cause and effect relationship is established between consumption of the food and the claimed effect in humans (such as: the strength. consistency. however. the wording used to make health claims should be truthful. condition such considerations. EFSA may wish to comment whether such different claims comply with the criteria laid down in the Regulation. 7(9):1213 14 . SUBSTANTIATION OF CLAIMS BY GENERALLY ACCEPTABLE SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE Scientific substantiation is the main aspect to be taken into account to authorise health claims. doseresponse. the specific study group(s) in which the evidence was obtained is representative of the target population for which the claim is intended. Claims referring to the maintenance of a function may be distinct from claims referring to the improvement of a function. satisfactorily demonstrate to beneficially affect identified functions in the body in a way which is relevant to health. the beneficial effect should be significant i. the presence or absence of the actual need for a nutrient or other substance with nutritional or physiological effect for that population should not. The scientific evidence about the role of a food on a nutritional or physiological function is not enough to justify the claim. This may be due to commercial practices.e. Article 13(1)(a) stipulates that health claims shall describe or refer to "the role of a nutrient or other substance in growth. Claims should be scientifically substantiated by taking into account the totality of the available scientific data. specificity. Different types of effects can be claimed. and shall demonstrate the extent to which: (a) (b) the claimed effect of the food is beneficial for human health. development and the functions of the body". Such sources may not be available for all health claims. Nevertheless. and by weighing the evidence. Moreover. (c) (d) EFSA has mentioned in its scientific and technical guidance for the preparation and presentation of the application for authorisation of health claims consistent criteria for the potential sources of scientific data. WORDING OF HEALTH CLAIMS Scientific substantiation of health claims is the main aspect on which EFSA's opinion is requested. There is potentially a plethora of expressions that may be used to convey the relationship between the food and the function. Although an appreciation of the beneficial effect in relation to the nutritional status of the European population may be of interest.

"essential" and "important" reflects the strength of the scientific evidence. In addition.  The specific importance of the food for the claimed effect. whereas a claim such as "Substance X helps maintain the flexibility of the joints" would. Health claims such as "Substance X supports the function of the joints" may not sufficiently do so. 7(9):1213 15 . It is not the intention of the regulator to adopt a detailed and rigid list of claims where all possible wordings for the different claims are approved. such assessment should take into account the particular perspective and/or knowledge in the target group of the claim. The specificity of the wording is very important. development and the functions of the body should be carefully considered. wordings like "strengthens your natural defences" or "contain antioxidants" should be considered as well as "may" or "might" as opposed to words like "contributes". descriptive words/ terms which can have multiple meanings should be avoided. and provide advice on the following aspects:  Whether adequate information is provided on the characteristics of the food pertinent to the beneficial effect. EFSA should consider the claimed effect on the function. and by weighing the evidence. TERMS OF REFERENCE HEALTH CLAIMS OTHER THAN THOSE REFERRING TO THE REDUCTION OF DISEASE RISK AND TO CHILDREN'S DEVELOPMENT AND HEALTH EFSA should in particular consider. In this context EFSA is invited to comment on the nature and quality of the totality of the evidence provided according to consistent criteria. "aids" or "helps". "necessary". The clarity of the wording is very important. and provide advice on the extent to which:  the claimed effect of the food in the identified function is beneficial. For functions affected by a large number of dietary factors whether a reference to a single food is scientifically pertinent.  Whether the beneficial effect of the food on the function is substantiated by generally accepted scientific evidence by taking into account the totality of the available scientific data. To this end. It would be appreciated though that EFSA may consider and comment generally on such elements relating to wording to ensure the compliance with the criteria laid down in the Regulation. In the first example of a claim it is unclear which of the various functions of the joints is described or referred to contrary to the latter example which specifies this by using the word "flexibility".Folate related health claims describe or refer to the 'role' of a nutrient or substance in growth. In doing so the explanation provided for in recital 16 of the Regulation on the notion of the average consumer should be recalled.e. The guiding principle should be that the description or reference to the role of the nutrient or other substance shall be clear and unambiguous and therefore be specified to the extent possible i. it is not required that EFSA comments on each individual wording for each claim unless the wording is strictly pertinent to a specific claim. EFSA Journal 2009. if such is indicated or implied. In addition. Similar alternative wordings as mentioned above are used for claims relating to different relationships between the various foods and health. Therefore. for functions affected by a large number of dietary factors it should be considered whether wordings such as "indispensable". In addition.

when appropriate:  on the appropriate application of Article 10 (2) (c) and (d) in the Regulation.  the wordings used to express the claimed effect reflect the scientific evidence and complies with the criteria laid down in the Regulation. 7(9):1213 16 . the effect on the function is significant in relation to the quantity of the food proposed to be consumed and if this quantity could reasonably be consumed as part of a balanced diet. which provides for additional labelling requirements addressed to persons who should avoid using the food.Folate related health claims  a cause and effect relationship has been established between consumption of the food and the claimed effect in humans and whether the magnitude of the effect is related to the quantity consumed. When considering these elements EFSA should also provide advice. and/or warnings for products that are likely to present a health risk if consumed to excess. EFSA Journal 2009.  the specific study group(s) in which the evidence was obtained is representative of the target population for which the claim is intended.  where appropriate.

classified as foodstuffs. a positive assessment of its safety. EFSA Journal 2009. or is not.Folate related health claims APPENDIX B EFSA DISCAIMER The present opinion does not constitute. and cannot be construed as. nor a decision on whether the food/food constituent is. 7(9):1213 17 . the proposed wordings of the claims and the conditions of use as proposed in the Consolidated List may be subject to changes. It should also be highlighted that the scope. It should be noted that such an assessment is not foreseen in the framework of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. pending the outcome of the authorisation procedure foreseen in Article 13(3) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. an authorisation to the marketing of the food/food constituent.

B12 RNI:1.4 mg a day for men. 400 Mikrogramm (µg)/d Schwangere Presence of a nutrient or other substance Number of nutrients/other substances that are essential to claimed effect: 1 Names of nutrient/other substances and Quantity in Average daily serving: 30 microgram(s) folic acid Daily amount to be consumed to produce claimed effect: 30 microgram(s) Minimum 15% RDA per 100g or 100ml or per single servings as per 90/496/EEC MUST AT LEAST BE A SOURCE OF MINERAL/S AS PER ANNEX TO REGULATION 1924/2006 Only for products with at least 100 % RDA RNI: 0.5mg Vitamin E. as proposed in the Consolidated List. 400 Mikrogramm (µg) /d Must meet minimum requirements for use of the claim source of Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic acid) as per Annex to Regulation 1924/2006 Applicable to both children and adults Number of nutrients/other substances that are essential to claimed effect: 3 Names of nutrient/other substances and Quantity in Average daily serving: 1.5 µg" The product must contain at least 15% of the RDA PRESUMED NOT NECESSARY TO present a statement which conveys that there is a risk that excess folate consumption (over 1mg/day) may mask B12 deficiency leading to late diagnosis of clinical disease particularly in the elderly and vegans AS PRODUCT ALSO CONTAINS RNI OF B12 Folic Acid EFSA Journal 2009.2micrograms Vitamin B12.2mg. 60 μg/serving Number of nutrients/other substances that are essential to claimed effect: 1 Names of nutrient/other substances and Quantity in Average daily serving: 30 microgram(s) folic acid/folate Daily amount to be consumed to produce claimed effect: 30 microgram(s) 80 Food or Food constituent Folate/ Folic acid (Vitamin B9) Health Relationship Homocysteine metabolism Proposed wording Folate/ Folic acid (Vitamin 9) helps maintain normal blood homocysteine levels Conditions of use Tolerable Upper Intake Level: 1 mg / d.Folate related health claims APPENDIX C Table 1. Main entry health claims related to folate. ID 79 Food or Food constituent Folate/ Folic acid (Vitamin B9) Health Relationship Blood formation Proposed wording Folate/ Folic acid (Vitamin B9) is needed/important for blood formation Conditions of use Schwangere–400 µg Folsäure pro Tag in Form von Nahrungsergänzungsmitteln Tolerable Upper Intake Level: 1 mg / d.2 mg a day for women. 210 micrograms Folic Acid Daily amount to be consumed to produce claimed effect: 2 litres Fruit with folic acid content of 30 μg/100g. B6 RNI: 1. 4.1. 7(9):1213 18 . including conditions of use from similar claims.

B6."" as per Annex to Regulation 1924/2006. 94 Conditions of use Must meet minimum requirements for ise of the claim source of Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic acid) as per Annex to Regulation 1924/2006 400 microgram/ day Only for products with at least 100 % RDA Food or Food constituent Folic acid (syn. Minimum15% RDA (30 µg) dziennie.25 µg dziennie Miedź minimum 135 µg dziennie. 2mg of vitamin B6 and 2μg of vitamin B 12 in the daily dose Food supplement with 300μg of folic acid in the daily dose Food supplement with 6-12mg of vitamin B6. Helps promote heart health. ● Contributes 175 EFSA Journal 2009. Food or Food constituent Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) Health Relationship Vascular function Cardiovascular health / Proposed wording Contributes to healthy arteries and vessels. A. 600-1200μg of folic acid and 3-6 μg of vitamin B12 in the daily dose Source of 15% of RDA per 100g Food or Food constituent Folic Acid Health Relationship The role of water-soluble vitamins in energy metabolism / transformation of food into physiological energy Proposed wording B-vitamins and vitamin C are essential for the energy metabolism / the transfomation of food into energy 90 Conditions of use Must meet minimum requirements for use of the claim ""source of [name of vitamin/s] and/or [name of mineral/s].1 mg) Selen minimum 8. Food or Food constituent Folic Acid Health Relationship The role of vitamins and minerals in immunity Proposed wording Vitamin C. Must meet minimum requirements for use of the claim "source of [name of vitamin/s] and/or [name of mineral/s]" as per Annex to Regulation 1924/2006. E. 7(9):1213 19 .: Vitamin B9) Health Relationship Cardiovascular health Proposed wording ● Helps keep arteries/blood vessels healthy.Folate related health claims Product Dosage 400µg/day B6 Product Dosage 2mg /day B12 Product Dosage 1µg/day Cereal-based beverages with folic acid content of 9-15μg/100g. Zinc.25 mg) Żelazo 15%RDA (2. Selenium. Witaminy na poziomie 100% RDA Cynk 15%RDA (2. D. B12 folic acid. 45-75μg/ daily serving Food supplement with 200 μg of folic acid. Copper and Iron are important for the immune system/natural defenses 91 Conditions of use Minimum 15% RDA (30 µg) dziennie. 23-38μg/serving.

Conditions of use 400 microgram/ day Food supplement with 75 μg of folic acid in the daily dose ≥ 400 µg/d Food or Food constituent Name of Food product: Folic Acid/ folate Health Relationship Health benefits of food: Folate helps keep arteries/ blood vessels healthy Target group: All adults aged 18 years and over Proposed wording Exact wording of claim as it appears on product: Folate (Folic Acid) helps keep arteries healthy Examples of any alternative wording that may be used in relation to claim: Folate (Folic Acid) helps keep blood vessels healthy Folate promotes a healthy heart 192 Conditions of use Presence of a nutrient or other substance Number of nutrients/other substances that are essential to claimed effect: 1 Names of nutrient/other substances and Quantity in Average daily serving: 400 microgram(s) folic acid/folate Daily amount to be consumed to produce claimed effect: 400 microgram(s) Food or Food constituent Name of Food product: Folate/ Folic Acid Health Relationship Health benefits of food: Folic Acid is essential for cell division Target group: All adults aged 18 years and over Proposed wording Exact wording of claim as it appears on product: Folic acid is essential for the healthy growth of cells Examples of any alternative wording that may be used in relation to claim: Folic acid is essential for cell division 193 Conditions of use Presence of a nutrient or other substance Number of nutrients/other substances that are essential to claimed effect: 1 Names of nutrient/other substances and Quantity in Average daily serving: 30 micrograms folic acid Daily amount to be consumed to produce claimed effect: 30 microgram(s) Presence of a nutrient or other substance Number of nutrients/other substances that are essential to claimed effect: 1 Names of nutrient/other substances and Quantity in Average daily serving: 301 micrograms vitamin B9 (folate) Weight of average daily food serving: 301microgram(s) Daily amount to be consumed to produce claimed effect: 401 EFSA Journal 2009. 7(9):1213 20 . ● Helps maintain a normal blood pressure by supporting the elasticity of blood vessels/arteries. ● Supports heart health by contributing to the normal functioning of the arteries/blood vessels.Folate related health claims to healthy arteries/ blood vessels.

Agency guidance for supplements is that products containing >20 mg of Iron should carry the label advisory statement ""[This amount of Iron] may cause mild stomach upset in sensitive individuals"" EFSA Journal 2009.Folate related health claims microgram(s) No Length of time after consumption for claimed effect to become apparent: 4 weeks Presence of a nutrient or other substance Number of nutrients/other substances that are essential to claimed effect: 1 Names of nutrient/other substances and Quantity in Average daily serving: 36 micrograms vitamin B9 Weight of average daily food serving: 90 gram(s) Daily amount to be consumed to produce claimed effect: 500 gram(s) Number of food portions this equates to in everyday food portions: 2882 Food or Food constituent Folate/Folic acid Health Relationship Effect on a normal pregnancy target group: women planning to become pregnant and pregnant Proposed wording Folate/Folic acid has the favourable effect on a normal pregnancy Conditions of use minimum 400 µg per day folate Only for combinations with at least 14 mg Iron and 400 µg Folic Acid. 7(9):1213 21 .

7(9):1213 22 .Folate related health claims GLOSSARY / ABBREVIATIONS DNA FMD NK PHA UL Deoxyribonucleic acid Flow-mediated dilatation Natural killer cells Phytohemagglutinin Tolerable Upper Intake Levels EFSA Journal 2009.